Le plaisir (1952)

by guest writer

Le plaisir is a masterly crafted adaptation after three short stories by Guy de Maupassant. There are three episodes in the film: “The Mask”, “The House of Madame Tellier” and “The Model”. Max Ophüls expressive use of cinematography and classy film-making treats subjects as love, passion and sex with an easiness uncommon to its times.

Le plaisir impresses with its narrative and flashback technique that introduces each of the three parts. “The Mask” presents us an aging women seducer (Jean Galland) learning more about his persona when he begins to wear a mask to hide his wrinkles. In “The House of Madame Tellier” the owner of a brothel (Madeleine Renaud) closes down the business one day for a curious personal mission. “The Model” tells the story of the price paid by Josephine (Simone Simon) because of her romantic indiscretion. Jean Gabin also appears in a supporting role. Beautifully constructed, each of the three episodes is a valuable parable.

photo: The Criterion Collection

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